Friday, August 29, 2014


The news this week that comedian Joan Rivers is in the hospital prompts the inevitable question of whether that famously quotable lady is giving thought to what her eventual "Famous Last Words" will be.

No doubt Joan Rivers worries at times that her eventual "Famous Last Words" from her own proverbial deathbed scene might not be witty enough or funny enough to rank her among the "immortal deathbed quipsters" of American history.

As an occasional freelance writer who has myself sent some humor material to Joan Rivers in recent years, I would like to offer some possible "Famous Last Words" lines that that world-famous comedian might want to use on her proverbial deathbed someday:

---"I was hoping to live long enough to witness a permanent and lasting peace in the Middle East in which all parties involved are completely happy. But I guess I won't have that opportunity now. With my luck, the first-ever successful peace treaty for the entire Middle East region will get signed seconds after I'm gone."

----"Edgar, I will NEVER forgive you for abandoning me and leaving me all alone like this!"

----"Moments like this make me wish I believed in an afterlife. But since I'm Jewish, that is not an option for me."

----"I wish I had re-read Norman Cousins's book on how to cure yourself of a terminal illness by laughing more often. Maybe I didn't laugh enough in the last few months, and that is why I'm having this crisis. Does anyone know a good joke that would help me to laugh so hard that I'd be fully cured of everything the doctor says I have right now?"

----"I guess it's too late for me to sue my doctor for malpractice. If I die today, my attorney tells me I can't file a posthumous lawsuit against my doctor in a court of law! I would have to rely on the administrator of my estate to file that medical-malpractice lawsuit for me, and I think I picked the wrong guy to represent my estate, since he never promised me he'd sue my doctor if I die before age 100! It's all turning into a complete posthumous disaster for me!"

----"My God, I never once had anyone interview me for an Oral History Videotape for the New York Public Library archives! Here I'm the funniest lady in American history, and the Oral History Collections section of that public library has nothing on Joan Rivers! That's a very cruel joke on me!"

-----"I wish I had been a Hollywood actress, at least I would have had immortality in the form of my footprint forever on display at that famous theater in Hollywood! Since I can't act, and I never could act so help me God, I don't get any footprint on display for future generations to remember me by! That is quite devastating to me!"

----"Maybe I should rewrite my will to exclude each of the persons who didn't send me flowers or get-well cards when I'm on my deathbed like this. The ones who didn't send me flowers or get-well cards can't possibly be true friends of mine, so I don't want them to get anything from my estate!"

----"It seems like I've spent all of my life doing stand-up comedy, so I'm used to being on my feet when I'm exploring the humorous side of life! And now that I'm lying on a hospital bed like this, I can't think of anything funny to say! Maybe the humor has switched to my doctor doing the stand-up comedy in front of me and I'm the one who's supposed to laugh at whatever he tells me is my prognosis! So it all ends with Gallows-Humor, and I'm expected to chuckle as I ponder who is going to get my social-security number after it gets re-assigned to someone else one minute after I'm dead!"

----"I can't bear the thought of a nationwide humor drought after I'm gone. Maybe I should ask my attorney to set up a 'Joan Rivers Comedian of the Year Award' that will financially reward future generations of comedians for excellence at exploring the funny side of life!"

-----"To me, the worst part about being on my deathbed inside a hospital is that I can't eat the dishes I enjoy the most. I know dozens of first-rate caterers here in New York, but my doctor won't let me call them up and ask for delivery service to my hospital room. It's against hospital policy, my doctor tells me!"

-----"What's so odd about it all is that for years I had practiced what I would say as my Famous Last Words, God forbid that I would ever end up in a disgusting deathbed scene like this inside a hospital. And now I've forgotten all of the best lines I came up with from that favorite pastime of mine in which I would imagine how to drop dead in the most cleverly quotable manner!"

----"At least I'm not a suicide blonde, as Marilyn Monroe was. I think all my friends are very proud of me for not being another of those infamous suicide blondes!"

-----"I wish I could figure out which food I ate that gave me the heart attack. Was it the slice of New York cheesecake I ate the other day that proved to be a fatal attraction for me, or was it something else?

----"At least I don't have to worry about when to go to the bathroom, now that I'm on my deathbed inside a hospital. The catheter takes care of everything for me. It saves me a lot of time, and God knows I can use every extra minute now that my lifespan is down to a matter of hours, according to my doctor."

-----"My biggest regret was that I never became a CEO for a company of my own. Donald Trump agreed that I had the talent for it, since I won first place on his show 'The Apprentice' several years ago. It would have been fun to own my own company and join a CEOs of America Club of some type and attend annual banquets honoring first-rate CEO's like myself!"

---"At least I had a pretty good record for endurance. Look at all the talented ladies and men I knew who died younger than myself. I attended hundreds of funerals in my life, and it was a very bleak experience for me. Maybe that is what helped me to make a firm decision to postpone my own funeral as long as I possibly could!"

----"The worst part about being on my deathbed is my certainty that all of my enemies and rivals are smirking and gleefully celebrating what they hope will be the day I turn into a 'Joan Drops Dead' front-page story in the New York Post. I wish I could leave behind a special provision in my will that finances year-round electronic surveillance of each of my 10 most hated enemies, along with automatic filing of criminal charges against each of them the minute they commit a felony crime of any type while being electronically surveillanced by the administrator of my estate!"

---"I don't agree with those who say that I pursued a life of humor because I was incapable of leading a serious and mature and responsible adult life. I feel that what I did was NOT childish or sophomoric or silly, as so many of my high school classmates have sarcastically commented to me at our class reunions!"

----"My worst fear is that my darling daughter Melissa will write a 'Mommy Dearest' expose on me a year after I croak! I have tried to avert that scenario by leaving behind a very generous fund in my estate that's earmarked for filing a lawsuit against any relative of mine who writes an expose on me after I'm dead that my attorney determines to be at all libelous or defamatory toward me!"

----"At least I didn't end up in a nursing home! Think of all the relatives and friends and classmates of mine who got stuck in a nursing home and turned into brain-dead human vegetables long before they passed away!"

-----"The timing of this deathbed scene disaster for me couldn't be worse. I was very excited this week about pursuing a new book project in which I would compile and edit an anthology of my all-time favorite jokes that I have either heard or read or come up with myself! I was thrilled about that 'Joan's Favorite Jokes' book project, since it could make the Times best-seller list and earn me millions!"

----"If my mother were alive today, she would be asking me if I have anything to confess to a rabbi before I'm officially pronounced dead by a coroner. Mother was very thorough that way. I think she felt it was always best to make a last-minute confession to a rabbi, just in case that might somehow affect any possible afterdeath outcome, if you get my drift. 'Better to be safe than sorry' was a favorite saying of my dear Mother. It's not that Mother believed in the afterlife. She just wanted everyone she loved to cover all the bases, just in case, before they pass away."

----"I had hoped to schedule my death to occur during the term of office of a REPUBLICAN President, since I myself am a staunch Republican. But it hasn't turned out that way. Maybe former President George W. Bush or his nice father will be willing to attend my memorial service and offer some Republican Party praise for me at that point!"

----"To think that the last bagel I ate was an 'everything' bagel, and I myself almost never eat bagels of that type! I always take pride in eating low-calorie bagels with one primary flavor to them that are as low in sodium as possible!"

----"I wonder who the next American Queen of Comedy will be, now that my own multi-decade reign is about to end very abruptly. I feel bad that I didn't emulate Donald Trump in my own way by offering an apprenticeship to aspiring young comedians. I guess I was too selfish to think about helping to train in a future star of American comedy!"

----"I am grateful I don't have to attend my memorial service. With some of the very blunt friends and relatives I have, that memorial service could turn into a lengthy critique of whatever they regard as my least flattering traits. And I would have no opportunity to reply in person to what they say about me at that ceremony!"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

My Advice to Obama: Do More to Promote 'Home Security Audits' Throughout U.S.A.

When United States President Barack Obama someday makes a long-distance phone call to me from The White House in which our nation's head of state politely asks me for advice on how he can more effectively lead this entire country, I would be sure to reply with the following:

----One of the most important civil rights that President Obama can help protect for all American citizens is the civil right to enjoy full freedom from crime inside their own private residence.

In this way, President Obama can help to promote and strengthen the civil right of each and every American citizen to enjoy a full and healthy and happy and year-round sense of hearth inside his or her own home.

As a consultant to President Obama in that phone-call from The White House scenario, I would also urge Mr. Obama to publicly promote the "Home Internal Security Audits Industry" at the earliest opportunity.

President Obama could do that in part by urging all Americans throughout this entire nation to please pursue an effective crime-prevention strategy by paying a fully bonded 'home security audits' professional service to inspect their own home or apartment unit as soon as possible.

As part of that on-site inspection, the Home Internal Security Auditor could identify each and every possible point of entry into that home or apartment unit or condo unit that could conceivably be entered illegally by a would-be burglar or would-be rapist or other criminal person.

That full inventory of any and all possible points of entry into that home or apartment unit or condo unit could then suggest strategies on how to make that private residence as safe and fully secured and burglary-proof and crime-free as possible.
This, in turn, could help to significantly reduce the crime rate throughout our entire nation, which would also boost Americans' well-being and medical health and creatively-vital productivity level in a very pervasive and felicitous manner.

Friday, March 7, 2014


---"An occasional compliment is necessary to keep up one's self-respect. ..When you can't get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one." --- American author and humorist Mark Twain, in a notebook observation he reportedly wrote in 1894.

---"I can last two months on a good compliment." --- American author and humorist Mark Twain.

---"Self-criticism is the secret weapon of a democracy." --- Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic Party Presidential Candidate in 1952 and 1956 (this quotation recalled from my memory of having once read this great 1950s observation by Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, and I will continue to search for the exact occasion and date on which then-Governor Stevenson offered this memorable observation in the 1950s).

---"Never despair!" (English translation of the Latin phrase "Nil Desperandum!") -- Horace, or Quintus Horatius Flaccus, (65 BC to 8 BC), a very influential poet and prominent citizen of the Roman Empire during the reign of Emperor Augustus.


My advice to President Obama:
---You should do more to focus our nation's attention on the great strength that the United States could derive from developing a mutually-friendly and mutually-helpful and mutually-respectful relationship with our next door neighbor to the north, Canada.

---You could urge Congress to approve the annual proposed binational celebration of an "American-Canadian Friendship Day" each year that highlights and promotes the many ways in which American society and Canadian society benefit from and help to strengthen each other.

---You could repeatedly and publicly declare your goal of presiding over the nationwide establishment of a truly first-rate network of treatment programs for which any American citizen of any age could qualify for assistance on ridding themselves of their own addiction to marijuana or cocaine or heroin or methamphetamine or any other illicit drug; or their own addiction to drinking alcohol or tobacco products.

----You could urge Congress to approve financial incentives for private-sector employers throughout the United States to themselves each sponsor random drug testing on any and all of their employees, including their Chief Executive Officer, on a semiannual basis for each and every person employed by that company.

Results from those random drug tests could then serve as a basis for that company requiring that any employee who failed a random drug test must agree to participate in a company-sponsored drug-treatment program aimed at helping that employee to rid himself of his or her addiction to marijuana or any other illicit drug as soon as possible.

Any employee failing a random-drug screening test who then refuses to enroll in a drug-treatment program, could be fired from his job with that company on that basis. Also, any employee who participates in a drug-treatment program and later fails a random drug-test administered through his employer on at least two separate occasions, could himself be automatically fired from his job on that basis.

---You could ask the federal government to sponsor or co-sponsor a series of 30-second public-service announcements featuring a variety of famous and popular American professional athletes or varsity collegiate athletes or Hollywood actors or professional musicians, for that matter, who each declare to the America people why they themselves are very proud to be a TATTOO-LESS AMERICAN, and WHY THEY ARE VERY PLEASED WITH THE NATURAL LOOK OF THEIR OWN BODY THAT THEY WERE BORN WITH!

---You could call the world's attention to the Freedom of Speech-minded American society's great support for anyone's and everyone's legal right and human right to verbalize criticism of any and all religious denominations or religious congregations or religion-sponsored events or religion-sponsored institutions, including any and all religion-sponsored "educational" programs or "educational" institutions.

You could emphasize to the entire world that the American Constitution and the American legal system strongly disagree with the premise of many Moslems, for instance, that any criticism of their own Moslem religion, no matter how civilly worded the criticism, should be regarded by those Moslems as an invitation for violent retaliation by themselves.

You could emphasize your own view that the United States Constitution does NOT protect the so-called "legal right" of any religious group to attempt to censor or suppress the civilly-worded views on religion or politics that are held by individuals who are NOT themselves members of the former religious group.

---You could ask the Justice Department to help American society and the American legal system determine whether a religious group or religious-sponsored institution that responds to criticism of itself in a violent and illegal manner, or that engages in or advocates or serves as a spawning ground for violent activity in violation of the law, has thereby forfeited its own "Freedom of Speech" and "Freedom of Religion" rights that would otherwise have been extended to that religious group or religion-sponsored institution by the U.S. Constitution and the American legal system.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Noteworthy Statements Made to Me By Others In The Period Since May 1987

---"No one is brainwashing you. You are brainwashing yourself, John." -- Michael Stephens, editor of the "Lockhart Post-Register" general-circulation newspaper based in Lockhart, Texas, during a long-distance phone call I made in 1988 or 1987 from my parents' home in Westlake Hills, Texas, to the Lockhart newspaper office of Michael Stephens, a former coworker of mine at "The Daily Texan" student newspaper at UT-Austin.

---"I (Mrs. Phyllis Gardner McMillan, a kindly native of Iowa) already know how this is going to turn out, so I am not worried about it." --- Mrs. Phyllis Gardner McMillan, my biological mother, during a long-distance phone call I made in 1989 or 1990 to Mother's and Father's home in Westlake Hills, Texas, from my rental duplex-apartment unit in West Texas---an apartment unit in which I lived alone in Big Spring, Texas. I was a full-time regional-beat reporter for "The Big Spring Herald" daily newspaper during that same time period.

---"The primary intent behind the manipulative circumstances in your own life these days is for your own intellectual benefit" (a near-exact quote, with the word 'manipulative' being an exact ver batim quote of his comment to me). -- Kent Neal McMillan, my oldest biological brother, during a long-distance phone call I made in 1990 or 1991 to Kent's and his wife's home in Austin, Texas, from Sweetwater, Texas, where I was employed full-time during that time period as an education-beat reporter and Roscoe-football-beat sports reporter for "The Sweetwater Reporter" daily newspaper. It is possible that the exact wording of the statement that Kent volunteered to me in that early 1990s long-distance phone conversation was instead: "The primary intent behind the manipulative circumstances in your own life these days is for your EDUCATIONAL benefit." In my entire life, I myself have never requested any "educational" services violating my own privacy rights in any way.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Part III of Who Definitely Does Not Qualify for Prospective Membership in my still-one-member (myself, only) and Non-Christian Progressive Prohibitionist Religion

----Anyone who believes that the "hymnal book" for a religious service should contain any of the following words in that hymnal book: "God" "Christ," "Almighty," "the Lord," "Creator of the Universe," "Jesus," etc.

----Anyone who believes that ANY piano playing or electric guitar music or organ music should ever be featured during any event or service sponsored by their own religion.

---Anyone who opposes church-sponsored monitoring of and factual reporting on the noise-pollution level, or decibel level, at any church-sponsored event.

----Anyone who believes that a religious group SHOULD NOT strive to diligently and conscientiously protect the hearing capacity and medical health of any and all members and employees of that religious group.

----Anyone who supports "thought control" projects of any type.

----Anyone who supports the view that religion should sponsor speculations or comments about an expected or cited "afterlife" for anyone in a context in which no modern scientific evidence has been provided as of that time that proves conclusively that any type of "afterlife" for any human being upon the death of that human being does, in fact, occur.

----Anyone who believes that a religious congregation should ever serve to any of its members foods, such as deep-fried donuts or conventional ice cream or candy, that are high in saturated fats or very high in sugar content and very lacking in vitamins and minerals.

---Anyone who believes that a religious congregation should ever serve or offer wine or any other alcoholic beverage of any type to any member or employee of that congregation at any time.

---Anyone who is uncomfortable with a religion that would seek to limit the use of drinking alcohol to its usage as a flavorful ingredient in cooking, with one example of that being "cooking sherry."

--Anyone who is uncomfortable with a religion that sponsors "Pederasty Prevention Workshops" and "Pederasty Prevention Discussion Groups" and "Pederasty Prevention Symposia" that are aimed at helping to promote and help achieve a significant reduction in the per-capita incidence of sex crimes violating the legal rights and human rights of minors (minors being definable in Texas as any and all persons age 16 or younger, according to the state penal code of Texas).


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Best Advice That Anyone Ever Offered Me

---"Anything worth doing, is worth doing right!" -- Dr. Calvin McMillan, my father, in advice that Father repeatedly offered me during my childhood inside our family's home in Westlake Hills, Texas.

---"Go East, Young Man!" -- Professor Donald Gillmor, a Media Law Scholar at The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, in cheerful in-person oral advice he kindly offered me in 1984 inside his faculty office in Murphy Hall on the campus of that public university in Minneapolis. The Canadian-born Professor Gillmor in his advice to me was borrowing and modifying "New York Tribune" editor Horace Greeley's famous "Go West, Young Man!" advice, but with an Eastern Seaboard Emphasis in Professor Gillmor's own witty advice to myself.

----"Don't live your life with the intent of striving to be 'popular'. You don't need to be popular with anyone." --- Dr. Calvin McMillan, my biological father, in an emphatic statement he made to me in the 1970s inside our family ome in Westlake Hills, Texas. Father took pride in giving his own often-blunt and very candid opinions about a wide range of topics, including deplorable destruction of the environment in Texas for which my professional ecologist Father faulted many Texans as having an alarming role in that damage to the environment in our state.

----"Whenever you travel out of town on a business trip, always try to accomplish at least two career-related objectives on your trip (approximate quote)." -- Steve Fox, the managing editor at "The Journal" daily newspaper in New Ulm, Minnesota, in emphatic oral advice he offered me in 1980 on how I could increase the number of feature stories and news stories I was writing as a regional-beat reporter for that New Ulm-based newspaper. If I was planning a trip to Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, in order to interview a former nun there, for instance, I should make a point of also identifying and scheduling an interview with some other resident of Sleepy Eye who also might make for a good feature story, Steve Fox's helpful advice reminded me.

----"Never quit a job until you have been hired for a new job!" -- Ann Rotramel, a podiatrist and former landlady of mine with the nickname of "Doc Ann," during a long-distance phone call I made in 1986 to her home in New Ulm, Minnesota, from my rental apartment unit in Quincy, Massachusetts.

----"I (Doc Ann Rotramel) recommend that you lead a completely celibate life and remain single throughout your entire life. Living alone and being single are preferable to living with or being married to someone you are not compatible with! (approximate quote)." --- Ann Rotramel, a lifelong single lady and landlady of mine in New Ulm, Minnesota, in helpful advice she offered me in 1980 or 1981 during an in-person meeting I had with her inside her podiatry office in downtown New Ulm. Her medical clinic was situated directly below my apartment unit, and was situated virtually next door to the newspaper office building where I was employed full-time as a regional-beat reporter in the newsroom of "The (New Ulm Journal" daily newspaper.

----"As a private attorney and regular reader of 'The Journal' here in New Ulm, I urge you to move from New Ulm, Minnesota, to Minneapolis, Minnesota, as soon as posssible! It seems to me (attorney Roger Hippert of New Ulm, Minnesota) that you have not lived very much. If you move to Minneapolis, that will give you lots of valuable life experience that will be very helpful to you in your career ambition to write fiction!" --- Roger Hippert, a youthful German-American gentleman and married man and kindly father, and a personal friend of "The (New Ulm) Journal" daily newspaper managing editor Steve Fox, during a 1981 visit that Roger Hippert made on his own initiative into the newsroom of "The Journal", a visit in which Mr. Hippert then chose to approach me in the newsroom of that workplace for me and urge me to move to Minneapolis as soon as possible for the sake of my thereby enhancing my own ability to become a successful fiction-witer for my expected eventual career, Mr. Hippert suggested.

----"I don't care what you write, as long as it is well-written!" --- Mrs. Phyllis Gardner McMillan, my kindly mother, in advice she offered me in 1986 inside her and her husband's family home in Westlake Hills, Texas.

----"Since you are definitely a direct descendant of the Rev. William Brewster, head chaplain on the Mayflower, and you are also a gentleman of good character, you should easily qualify as an individual dues-paying member of the William Brewster Society that's headquartered in New England (approximate quote)." --- Cousin Jack Dane, a first-rate private attorney in the Quad cities region of Iowa, in a long-distance phone call I made to Cousin Jack Dane in the first decade of the 21st Century from my rental apartment unit at Wind River Crossing Apartments in Austin, Texas. Shortly after that helpful telephone conversation of mine with Cousin Jack, I was officially approved that same year for individual membership in the William Brewster Society honoring the first full-term Puritan Governor of what is now the U.S. Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

----"The key to life is to adapt successfully to changing circumstances in your life.(a very rough approximate quote, recalled strictly from memory)." --- First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, in one of the books she wrote that I enjoyed reading several decades ago.

---"The Mormon Church opposes thought-control projects, so I urge you to develop friendly dialogues with Mormons. The Mormons would feel comfortable with your own emphatic opposition to thought-control projects (approximate rough quote)." --- Dr. Michael Kim McMillan, an older brother of mine who is himself a chemistry researcher and medical researcher at Keck Medical School of the University of Southern California in the Los Angeles area of southern California, in an E-mail letter that Dr. Michael Kim McMillan wrote and sent to me from his official USC Medical School professional E-mail address in 2013, I believe it was.

---"The two nationalities in the entire world that I personally regard as the friendliest and I (Dr. Calvin McMillan) recommend to you the most are the people of Scotland and of Australia. I learned this through my extensive travels throughout the entire world as a Botany researcher. I might add that the Asian Indians I met in India were quite warm to me, which was particularly impressive in view of the widespread extreme poverty that can be found in India of the 1970s (approximate and very rough composite quote combining several separate comments that Father made to me in the 1970s)." --- Dr. Calvin McMillan, my biological Father, himself with an exclusively Scottish and English ancestry, who in the summer of 1991 made a point of himself volunteering to me on the telephone from his home in Westlake Hills Texas, that he was very dismayed by a reported scandal about an "unethical British media company" apparently headquartered (?) in England that Father complained to me about on his own initiative during a long-distance phone call I made to Father's and Mother's home in Westlake Hills, Texas, from my rental home private residence in Cuero, Texas, a city where I was employed as a full-time regional bureau reporter for the "Victoria (TX) Advocate" daily newspaper.

----"If you want something done right, do it yourself!" -- Dr. Calvin McMillan, my father, a Professor of Botany at The University of Texas at Austin, in advice he frequently offered me in the 1970s during my teenage years in Westlake Hills, Texas.

----"The best neighbor is a fence!" --- Dr. Calvin McMillan, my father, in expressing his own view of neighbors during my childhood. That comment to me from Father helpfully underscored the value of protecting one's own privacy rights inside one's own home.

----"When you feed squirrels outdoors at your apartment complex, I recommend that you only use unsalted nuts for that. If you feed squirrels salted nuts, the high sodium levels could kill those squirrels." --- Kent Neal McMillan, my oldest brother and an Austin-area resident, in helpful practical advice that Kent offered me either on the telephone or possibly in person during one of Kent's early 2006 visits to the apartment complex where I have resided in northwest Austin ever since August 2001.

---"You should never judge the architecture of a building based on the exterior appearance of that architecture. The key additional question should always be: Is the building both attractive and, in addition, comfortable and practical to work in or live in for those persons who actually are employed in that building or who actually live in or visit that building (rough approximate quote)?" ---Kent Neal McMillan, my oldest brother and a former architecture student at The University of Texas at Austin, in oral advice Kent helpfully offered me in person or on the telephone in 1978, I believe it was, during a period in which I wrote and had published a full-page feature-spread article for "The Daily Texan" student newspaper at UT-Austin on the overall caliber and style of architectural contributions to the campus of The University of Texas at Austin by a prominent architect called Bubie (sp?) Jessen.

----"Be a columnist. Novelists are a dime a dozen." --- Mark Williamson, then an undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota, in advice he offered me in 1983 or 1984 on the telephone during a local phone call I made to his private apartment unit in Minneapolis from my own top-floor efficiency apartment unit, also situated near the main campus of the University of Minnesota.

----"Be serious and see what happens. If you are serious enough, the usual fools will accuse you of being funny, and you are on your way to becoming a humorist." (approximate quote, recalled by me from memory)." -- Russell Baker, an oped columnist who wrote satirical humor columns for "The New York Times," in a 1983 or 1984 signed reply letter on official "New York Times stationery" that Mr. Baker in the northeastern U.S. kindly wrote and mailed to me at my top-floor efficiency apartment where I was living alone in that apartment unit near the main campus of The University of Minnesota in 1983 or 1984 in Minneapolis.

----"You are off to a good start (in your pursuit of a column-writing career). Keep writing and re-writing, and remember what Pete Hamill once said. Writing is the most difficult activity in the entire world that does not involve heavy lifting" (approximate quote, recalled strictly from my current 2014 memory of that 1980s letter to me from Ms. Goodman)." --- nationally syndicated and Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper columnist Ellen Goodman of "The Boston Globe" staff, in a 1984 or 1983 signed reply letter on "Boston Globe" stationery that Ellen Goodman very kindly wrote and mailed via the U.S. Postal Service from Boston, Mass., to my second-floor efficiency apartment unit address near The University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

---"I believe in One World. Any contribution you can make to the United States or any other nation in this entire world is admirable." -- Dr. Calvin McMillan, my father, during a December 1990 outing for himself and myself in which Father drove me from his and Mother's home in Westlake Hills, Texas, to the airport in Austin.

---"I recommend that you always live in an English-speaking nation, regardless of whether that ends up being a foreign nation where English is the primary language spoken. Your writing skills in English are so strong that it makes good sense for you to remain in an English-speaking country." -- Dr. Calvin McMillan, my father, during a December 1990 outing for Father and myself in which Father drove me from his and mother's home in Westlake Hills, Texas, to the airport in Austin.

---"You can accomplish whatever you set your mind to do!" --- Mrs. Phyllis Gardner McMillan, my beloved mother, in emphatic advice she repeatedly offered me inside our family's home in Westlake Hills, Texas, during the 1960s and 1970s.

---"Just smile as a new employee at that Whataburger chain-restaurant job you just got hired for along Barton Springs Road in Austin, and act like it's the very best job in the entire world!" -- Mrs. Phyllis Gardner McMillan, my kindly mother, in well-intended advice she offered me in person in 1986 inside her and Father's home in Westlake Hills, Texas.

---"I (Elspeth Rostow) was sorry to hear that you had turned into a desk clerk in Minneapolis. I (Elspeth Rostow) hope you will return to pursuing a professional career, such as newspaper reporting, as soon as possible (rough approximate quote)." --- Elspeth Rostow, then-Dean of the School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, in a 1981 long-distance phone call I made to her faculty office on the east campus of UT-Austin from the lobby of the Parkway Motor Hotel where I was employed as a motel desk clerk in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Parkway Motor Hotel at that that time was situated near Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am very sure that I would have made that 1981 long-distance phone call to Dean Rostow solely at my own personal expense, and that Parkway Motor Hotel definitely was not billed for that long-distance phone call I made that morning in 1981 upon conclusion of my midnight-to-8-a.m. "graveyard" shift at Parkway Motor Hotel.

----"I recommend that you make sure you have as much health insurance coverage for yourself as you can possibly get (approximate quote)." --- Ernie Motloch, a former work supervisor of mine at Souper Salad Lakeline restaurant (a corporate-owned chain restaurant situated near Lakeline Mall in Williamson County, Texas), who has himself generously offered me very kind and constructive and polite and very helpful advice on the telephone this 21st Century for many years.

---"If something specific and tangible comes up in the way of criminal activity that violates your own legal rights, I definitely recommend that you press criminal-law charges through the Austin Police Department in Austin, Texas." -- Ernie Motloch, a former work supervisor of mine and people-friendly businessman who has very kindly agreed to provide me with a very favorable reference to any prospective employer for myself that might ever at any time contact Ernie in regard to myself. Ernie offered me that helpful advice in 2012 or 2013 on the telephone after I repeatedly complained to Ernie on the telephone and through E-mail letters I wrote and sent to that kindly gentleman and married man that I had myself been victimized by alleged illegal intruders or alleged criminal persons inside my bolt-locked apartment unit who allegedly had subjected me to alleged personal injury crimes during my sleep----and also during periods in which I was conscious and awake in regard to alleged possible contamination of my foods and beverages--- inside that top-floor, vaulted-ceiling, one-bedroom apartment unit where I myself have resided ever since January 2002 in northwest Austin.

---"You should take pride in your very natural and healthy very strong emotional and aesthetic affinity and enthusiasm toward many of the law-abiding heterosexual men your age or younger, and many of the law-abiding heterosexual women (approximate and very rough quote, with some elaboration from myself at this time for the sake of clarification of what the advice means to me today). As a morally and aesthetically straight and law-abiding and permanently alcohol-free and cleancut as well as clean-talking and anti-marijuana-minded and law-enforcement-minded single adult Anglo gentleman, you are a good match for the straighter crowd" (a very rough approximate quote, with some elaboration by me at this time for the sake of clarification about what that advice means to me today)." ---- Michael Crothers, a self-identified fiction writer and English as a Second Language instructor and kindly older gentleman, during a 1991 or 1990 long-distance phone call I made to him at his Mother's home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, from my rental apartment unit in Sweetwater, Texas.

----"All of your own friends can be heterosexual! Just keep on going the way you are going in your civil and law-abiding lifestyle, and you will easily achieve that long-term goal for yourself!" --- Sarah Goodfriend, a former schoolmate of mine at Stephen F. Austin High School of Austin Independent School District and a former varsity cross-examination debate competitor representing Austin High School (along with her debate partner, Carrin Patman), in very reassuring 1990 or 1991 personal advice on the telephone that Sarah Goodfriend kindly offered me from her private residence in the northeastern United States, or possibly in North Carolina, during a long-distance phone call I had made to Sarah's private residence from my rental apartment unit in Sweetwater, Texas.

----"You could be one of the most handsome men on this entire campus at Washington University in St. Louis, if you would just lose some weight!" --- Susan Reynolds, the daughter of a male medical physician in Fort Hays, Kansas, who was herself a female classmate of mine, pre-med student, and college dormitory neighbor of mine, in very helpful and constructive oral advice that Susan Reynolds kindly offered me in 1975 or 1976 on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis. The diet plan I ended up using shortly after that advice from Susan was a diet plan I already knew about from having myself on my own initiative mail-ordered and purchased and obtained a low-carbohydrate-diet-strategy book during my senior year or junior year of high school in the Austin area of Texas. A matter of weeks after Susan Reynolds offered me that very helpful advice, her college roommate who had been pre-assigned to room with Susan in the fall semester of 1975 by the Washington University administration, Robin Warshawsky, in early 1976 offered me very memorable and inspirational praise when I happened to run into Robin outdoors one day near Wohl Center Cafeteria on that private university campus. "John, you look great!", Robin Warshawsky, a very attractive and articulate female classmate of mine at Washington University in St. Louis and a polite neighbor of mine residing in the same student dormitory as myself on that campus, commented to me. Robin, who was herself from Allentown, Pennsylvania, made the inspirational comment to me that I will always savor as very special after I had reduced my weight to exactly 200 pounds as a student at Washington University (my height was 6-foot, two and one-half inches).